A Christmas Carol at Rose Theatre _ Photo by Mark Douet

Review: A Christmas Carol, Rose Theatre

Review: A Christmas Carol, Rose Theatre

It’s dark, it’s spectacular, it’s a must-see


Rose Theatre’s Christmas shows are a total antidote to all the saccharine-sweet offerings and raucous pantos around during the festive season. I have been to them all through the years and they never disappoint. For one, they showcase the incredible talent that is honed at the Rose’s youth theatre. There’s always great choreography, songs, impressive set design and special effects. Plus, there’s usually a storyline that will please the adults as well as entertaining the kids. Crucially though, there’s a hint of darkness and plenty of intelligence that runs through it all. So, what could be better for the Rose than Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol? There’s pure darkness right there – dark backstory, check, ghosts, even… and, of course, it all comes good in the end as all festive tales really should. Or does it? The Rose puts its original spin on it – complete with a female Scrooge (brilliantly played by Penny Layden). While it’s set in the original Victorian time period, it feels modern and relevant with the children of the ragged school questioning whether Scrooge’s behaviour can be justified given her tragic past (which is revealed in a way that might be too vivid for some children). But if that sounds too deep, there’s plenty of laughs, some brilliant special effects and clever staging (loved the projections of a spirit and Scrooge’s flights over the city) plus some glorious song and dance routines. The professional actors and the young talent of the youth theatre all shine.

Directed by Rosie Jones, with music by Eamonn O’Dwyer and adapted by Morgan Lloyd Williams, this is a powerful piece of theatre combined with plenty of feel-good-festive-factor to make it a Christmas must-see. Brilliant.

Rose Theatre, until 2 January

Image: Mark Douet.